The Bookshelf, May 2019

Here’s what I’ve been reading and some Kindle Deals (prices valid as of the day this is posted). The links take you to my Amazon Storefront and when you click through to purchase a book, I earn a small percentage (at no increased cost to you). This is a great way to support the hosting blog costs of Djibouti Jones.

My favorite book of this month, of even the past few months, is No More Faking Fine, by Esther Fleece. (also on sale for $2.99!) I could post so many quotes here. I loved how she pieced together verses that cut straight to our pain and that demonstrate how the people the Bible did not run from their pain, but took it straight to God and expected to be met in their sorrow. No More Faking Fine demonstrates how it is not only ok to grieve, but that doing so and inviting God into our pain, allows God to minister, heal, and love.

“Even as we cry, “How long, Lord?” we can trust the process that in the waiting, we are being strengthened, sanctified, and transformed. Even in the waiting, God is powerfully present, and that can be our source of deep, unshakeable joy.”

(audiobook) Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport. So good, and challenging. I’ve been pushed to limit my digital use. I already didn’t have social media notifications on my phone and don’t watch much TV. But I do love me a good podcast and there are so many good ones out there. But, as a writer and simply to be a healthy person in today’s world, I need to limit that input and get some quiet time in order to do deep, focused work. I highly recommend this book.

Jean Vanier: Portrait of a Free Man, by Anne-Sophie Constant (published by my publishing house, Plough, yay!) Jean Vanier passed away this month and he left a legacy of mercy, love, and tenderness. This is a lovely biography of the man who founded L’Arche and changed the way people view disability. It releases in August, 2019 but is available now for pre-order. Here is from the back cover copy:

“The story of Jean Vanier is the story of a free man – a man who knew how to become himself, who knew how to free himself from restraints, opinions, and prejudices; from intellectual, religious or moral habits; from his epoch; from popular opinion. … Jean Vanier has transformed the lives of thousands and thousands of mentally disabled people. And he has transformed the understanding of thousands of people regarding the disabilities of their own children and of people with disabilities. Where we see only failure, disgrace, impossibility, limit, weakness, ugliness, and suffering, Jean Vanier sees beauty. And he knows how to open the eyes of others to see it.”


I’ve been reading a lot of spiritual memoir lately and these are ones I’ve returned to over and over:

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans

Girl Meets God, by Lauren F. Winner Lauren is smart and funny, a Jewish convert to Christianity (and if you read her later books, a person who continues to wrestle deeply with faith). She writes with refreshing vulnerability combined with surprising heft and depth, something often lacking in current books, especially spiritual memoir. I love this book.

A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue, by Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk This book is unique in that it is balanced from both sides. Often I read books like these and one side wants to dominate, even as the book gives off the idea that it is a dialogue – it comes down to an argument. But this truly is two men who love their religion, and present it.

Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor I mean, BBT. So good. She is another woman who loves God, loves the church, loves wrestling with matters of faith and who is so, so smart and such a pleasure to read.

And a new one, Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic, by Jordan Duffner. My publisher suggested this one to me, and I’m so glad they did. Jordan writes respectfully and beautifully about how specific aspects of Islam have encouraged her faith. An example is of how the Quran repeatedly urges people to pay attention, look for ayat, or signs, of how God is at work in the world.


Kindle Deals

No More Faking Fine, by Esther Fleece, $2.99

Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans, $4.99

Hallelujah Anyway, by Anne Lamott, $1.99

Inside Al-Shabaab, $2.99

Streams in the Desert, 365 days of devotional readings, $2.99

Faith Unraveled, by Rachel Held Evans, $2.99

The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton, $2.99

Fierce Faith: A Woman’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry, and Overcoming Anxiety, by Alli Worthington, $2.99

The Road from Corrain, by Jill Ker Conway, $4.99


What are you reading lately?


By |May 23rd, 2019|Categories: the bookshelf|Tags: |0 Comments

One Word and Taking Risks

Here are two things that came out this week:

One Word: An Interview with My Teenager Daughter

This was super fun to do – interview my own kid? Yes, please. She’s so great. Check out our conversation about the word she chose for 2019, why she chose it, and how she is leaning into it.

And Part Two of my conversation with Jen Howat, at the Giving Up Normal podcast. This part includes my encouragement to those who might be struggling to take the leap into the unknown of something hard, or risky.



Hope Writers: Join Me!

This week Hope Writers is opening their doors for new members. If you’re interested, just click here for more information.

Straight talk here, guys. At first, I really hesitated and even after I joined, I wasn’t sure for a while whether or not I had made the right decision. Sometimes, it can be a little corny. But then, corny can also be fun.

Why I joined: I need community in my writing work and dreams. That is really hard for me to find here. I needed accountability in specific areas Hope Writers hits on. They focus more on the marketing and publishing and community building than on the craft of writing. Not that I don’t need to learn craft! I totally do, but at this point in my writing work, I need to focus on those other areas, the more “businessy” side of a writer’s work.

In those two areas: community and accountability for growth in my weaknesses, Hope Writers has totally come through.

It doesn’t meet all my writing needs and it doens’t hit all my interest buttons, but it has been the right thing for me, for now.

I’ve gotten on podcasts, which means I’ve been able to meet incredible women. I’ve joined a few small groups where we encourage each other and hold each other accountable. And just having put down the money means that I’m taking all of it, including my own work, more seriously.

It isn’t for every writer and it isn’t for all times, but for me, for this year of a lot of other stressors, I decided to jump in and join a community of writers. I’m glad I did (even when it does get corny. Or cheesy. Why do we use food for that feeling?)

Anyway, if you’re interested and would like to join me over there, here’s a link for more information:

Join Me at Hope Writers!

Let me know if you join, so we can find each other in the Facebook group.

Hope Writers Bonus #4: Master Class with Emily P. Freeman!

So much fun to share these things with you all, and to hear back. There will be one more email after this one about Hope Writers, and then I’ll stop flooding your inboxes and we can all get back to work, right?!

This Monday my friend Emily P. Freeman, co-founder of hope*writers, is hosting an online training for writers called “How to be a Working Writer Without Losing Your Mind.”

Hint: you don’t have to sell your soul, change your personality, or become a cartoon version of yourself to make it as a writer.Emily is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who knows how to hustle but hasn’t lost her heart.

And good news! She loves talking to writers about writing.

If you’re a writer but you struggle to share your work in a way that feels like you, then you don’t want to miss this free training.

It runs at four different times, so you can choose the one most convenient for you. Click here to save your spot!

“How to be a Working Writer Without Losing Your Mind.”

Let me know if you attend the webinar and how you are writing (or creating other art) without losing your mind.

For me, a huge part of it is being part of groups like Hope Writers who encourage and support the journey, and then through interacting with readers, learning how to serve and connect.

Another Mother Runner Podcast

I am:

a mother

a runner

another mother runner

and…a running nerd.

By nerd, I mean I love all things running. I used to think: what is there to talk about? You wear shoes and you move your legs. Done.

Now? I get it. I read the shoe descriptions in Runners World magazine. I delight in every mile, in hearing people say about a race, “And I ran…and I finished…” and I want to hear all about the in between parts.

So talking to other mother runners was just plain delightful.

Here is the podcast episode, a bonus 45-minute length one, thanks to my wonderful mother (who is not a mother runner but she is a mother walker) who nominated me for mother of the month!

Have a listen, maybe on the run or after listen, lace up your shoes and hit the road/trail/treadmill.